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3 Questions 4 Boxes

Feb 12, 2021

Welcome back to another episode of Housing Literacy with Matt Guarino!

In this episode we dive in to how YOU can get clarity behind what YOU want for your goals. Matt will teach you a strategy to think about what your current reality is and how to compare/contrast that to your future goals.  You will notice in this episode how Matt had everchanging goals throughout his life, and shows that you are absolutely NEVER stuck in one position. YOU have the power to make a change for your life and your families life.

The idea is that before you can consider buying real estate and taking a long-term view…you need to understand at the deepest level your current reality and then plan 5 years into the future based on your priorities at this time.  This is exactly what Matt has done the last 25 years.  The big points:  your current reality is constantly changing and your priorities also shift in each phase of your life.  If that’s the case in a world that is also changing faster than every before…what’s something that can ground you and keep the ground underneath your feet from trembling non-stop? Matt suggests it can be real estate.  Here’s his story and our hope is  that you can see yourself in his journey in some ways that are helpful to you.

“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” —Jim Rohn

Here is some more information that can guide you in the right direction!

Episode Links: 


Episode Transcript:

Welcome back to the Power From Homes podcast, where we talk about housing literacy and so grateful, you're here. Really excited to talk about today's topic, but before we jump in, I want to just say a few quick clarifying things. And the first one is, why am I doing a podcast on housing literacy? And the answer is very simple. It's that if you Google financial literacy, you Google housing literacy, you'll find millions of hits for financial literacy, but you'll find almost nothing on housing literacy. Literally you'll find nothing. I think there's one site sponsored by HUD and that's about it.

Also, you know, I wasn't taught this. I don't think any of us were taught what is housing literacy in middle school or high school or even college. I went to business school and became a CPA and we never talked about the real life stuff. There are lots of shows about it, which are super fun and cool to watch. There are some great podcasts about information on the, on the real estate on the internet, but as far as housing literacy, rubber meets the road, you know, what is the mindset I need to have and what are the actual tactics that I need to implement to buy my first home and, or invest in real estate build homes and anything in this space, different asset types. There's no real thing out there. And so what I'm trying to do is create value for the listener and again, I'm really grateful that you're here, that you can use practically.

The second thing is, you know, on this podcast that we're going to talk about some things, you know, through stories. We're going to give a round of interviews and we're going to get a lot of case studies, actual people doing actual things, even giving you context for what I've done for the last 25 years to give you the confidence, to have the mindset so that you can implement some tactics, so you can get started.

But the second thing I want to stress is that this isn't the end all be all. There's lots of ways to build wealth. There's lots of ways to stabilize your life through a mutual fund stocks, bonds, investments in companies. And it's not to say you have to have a career in real estate. You can have lots of different careers and invest in real estate on the side. So this is one way to do it, but there's lots of others. So not saying upend your life and change everything because of these cool tactics we're going to talk about or the mindset, just layer them into your life.

And then finally, I just wanted to say, especially during these times that this is kind of a judgment free zone and it goes both ways; I'm being very vulnerable on, I'm going to tell you the things that I've done well, but I'm also going to share the things that I didn't do well. And then looking back, I learned almost more from those. There's no political agenda here. There's no religious agenda. It's not a religious thing. It's not a political thing. It's just a thing thing. And it's something that I've learned over my 25 years doing this and just want to share that with you. But I would just say, take what you, what works for you and just leave the rest and, but layer it in, just layer it into your life and hopefully it'll jumpstart some things and it'll activate some concepts that you may not have thought about. So that's the whole idea.

So today's topic is and the headline is finding your power with three questions and four boxes. So it sounds like a riddle, but it's not. So what do I mean by that? And what I first said it is about you, about the listener and about engaging in the idea of buying your first home and engaging in the process of purchasing real estate, how could I possibly do that? How would anybody possibly do that? Of the 2 million realtors in the country, how could they possibly do anything like that without getting to know you, specifically? Because what we're talking about with housing literacy is buying the right type of property, in the right location at the right time for the right price, with the right terms. It's a lot of things that go into that very big and serious decision.

So in order to do that, I think we need to start with three questions and four boxes. And what that's about is the current reality in your life and then the future goals, where do you want to go with your life? And those two things are often in conflict and which prevent people from doing something about buying a home and it happened to me. So one of the things we'd like to do at Powerful Homes is get the answer to the three questions. And then have somebody take a sheet of paper out, just this simple, draw a big box on it, put a cross in the middle of it and which results in four boxes.

So let me get into it. So we asked them to record it. We asked them to write it down at any point in time. And our whole thing is about education and empowerment. And our goal is to help 10,000 people in the next 10 years. So we would be thrilled to go with you on this journey. This journey of personal transformation, which leads to a stronger foundation in your life with your, with your financial situation, which leads to you, being able to accomplish your dream. So we'd love to go with you on that journey. So if you recorded it in the beginning and recorded it in year two, and then year three, you can see the growth.

So if I'm going to ask somebody to do that, I ought to be able to do that myself. So what I'm going to do today is go through the three questions in four boxes, the current reality in my life and the goals and the priorities I had in each of those phases. And I'm going to do it for my twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. While I do that, I want to point out some things, some housing literacy moments that I only learned when looking back, when I had context for it. I took the leap in order to look, as we say, I took the leap and something good happened. Difficult, squeeze tests happened along the way, but I was able to change my future priorities and goals by understanding and taking into account the current realities of the situation.

So here we go. So the three questions you might be wondering, pretty simple, they sound simple, which are, who am I? How is it going? And what do I want? What do you want? So in my twenties, again, I'll take you through quickly each one of the decades and again, drop in some housing literacy along the way. So in my twenties, who was I? People can answer that any way they feel they want to answer it. So for me, you know, you think about I was a son of the last of seven kids. I was in a very conservative family that didn't think risk was a good idea. And again, while we're doing these questions, we are going deeper and understanding and unpacking possibly you know, how did I get to who I am?

So, going back to that, you know, I was a son I had a girlfriend at the time, which turned into a fiancé who I married when I was 25. So then I became a husband. I was a student in my early twenties at James Madison University, and then I was a graduate and then I was a CPA. I think that's how I would've answered who are you? And I would've said I was a W2. I was an employee of Pricewaterhouse in New York City. A job that I loved, the firm but I didn't like the work that I was doing, which will lead into the next question. But those are the basic ideas of who I was. Who my identity was, how I got there.

So how was it going? I think it was going fine. I think I was in decent shape. Things were going okay. I graduated college, which I have told this story before, that I was excited that I paid for [inaudible 07:48] when I was a child. But things were fine, but if you would have asked me in my twenties, I would have said, I don't like my job. I don't like it. I think it's super fun. But how's it going? It wasn't at ease, I was looking for something, I was searching. I was always kind of not comfortable. So the last thing is, what do I want, I wanted to get married and I wanted to have a huge family with my wife, Cammy and that was about it.

And so in my twenties, nowhere in there, as you can see was buying real estate. It just wasn't on my radar. And because of those answers to those three questions, then my priorities at the time were, work as much as I can, make as much money, have as many adventures as I could. And then start thinking about a family. Those are my four priorities in the four boxes, which would be work, money, housing and then the other one for me has always been family. So that was it.

And so in my twenties, I rented and here's the housing literacy moment. Right after we got married, about two years later, I was 27. My landlord David Axelrod said, Hey, Matt, you're a great tenant, but would you want to buy this thinking about selling it? It was a fourplex about a block off the ocean in Long Beach, New York. And I said to him no, thanks. I just want to rent. That's too serious. It just wasn't on my radar. Again, based on my current reality and the priorities I had set for myself at that time,

$450,000, I could have done it, which was the purchase price. It is now worth over 1.6 million. So again, just let that sink in, you know, depending on what your current reality is and how you're prioritizing your life, your antennas may not be up for opportunities like that. So going into my thirties I started realizing that I needed to do something about my tension with the job I didn't like. So I got a career counselor and everything pointed that I should be an entrepreneur. So we ended up deciding to move to Colorado, the most entrepreneurial city in the nation at the time, and right away, we, well, we brought with us two kids. We were blessed to have two kids and right away I bought a house.

So in my thirties, who was I? I was a husband of two, I was young father, I was a CPA working at Pricewaterhousecoopers. They moved us out here. And I was starting to think about what else I could be. How was it going? It was still fine, still dissatisfied with my job and I wanted to start becoming an entrepreneur. So I moved here to Colorado and then what do I want? We wanted to have more kids. And then I was starting to think about, if you ever look this up, how much do kids cost? So the answer to that question is around 250 per child through 18 years old. And it's another 250 give or take, if you want to pay for their colleges, which is what we wanted to do. And then it may be another hundred give or take plus if they were involved in competitive sports or things like that. So you're looking at six to $700,000, zero to 18 per child.

So in my thirties, I started thinking, okay, I still was working at my financial job, and I was kind of transitioning out of that, so I started flipping homes. So I flipped a lot of homes. And I started

thinking about how much having children and paying for their college would cost. So to answer the questions again, in my thirties, my new priorities were, I'm making more time to be with my children and paying for their college. And so I started buying other properties, started fixing and flipping homes and buying rental properties. So that's what I did in my thirties. Again, you could see how these things interact, the current reality, future goals. How can real estate support it? Also, that house that I bought at 31 in my thirties ended up going up in value about a lot; about 250 to 300,000, which I used all of that equity to fund being a young father with a young family.

So now we go to my forties, who am? I am a father of four now and now I have teenage kids, which that was cool. It's an interesting phase. I love our children. They're fantastic, but it's tough. It's a difficult phase for everyone. So I wanted to be even more there. So I started coaching their teams, so I needed more time. So I really then settled into being a full-time investor. I also started thinking my priorities started shifting. One of my boxes became I wanted to make a bigger difference. So I started buying in my forties assisted living facilities, and I started investing in properties for the homeless and formerly incarcerated to start trying to make a difference for folks as well as be there for my family and all the while trying to increase my earnings. So all of that current reality and future goals, which now are changing I needed to make more money.

So that was amazing. So in my forties, I ended up selling those assisted living facilities and a lot of those assets because there's changes and regulations happened. So it's very interesting to look back on that, something that I thought was going to be a lifelong thing ended up being as a short time thing, but very satisfying. So now here I am in my fifties who am I, how's it going? What do I want? My children are grown. A couple are out of college, which we planned on a long time ago. And we're super proud of that. One's about to graduate this year and another one's got two years left, so we're just about empty nest. So now I'm looking back and saying, how's it going? It's going very well. We're almost empty nest, but I'm thinking I want to make even more of a difference, I want to create a legacy. Is there anything I've learned that I could pass along? So I wrote a book and created an online course, and now I've set as a new goal, helping 10,000 people in 10 years through home ownership and real estate investing.

So as you can see, my current reality kept changing. My priorities have been shifting and moving and shifting and moving. All the while I bought different asset classes, I bought land, I built houses, I flipped homes. I've been a rental owner of long-term multifamily, and those assets have shifted throughout my career. I became a full-time real estate developer and investor because I

liked it so much. Now in my fifties, one of the things I've learned is that, it was difficult to try to help people that were formerly incarcerated and homeless, and they were seniors and I helped with seniors as well, I wasn't trained in that. So that's one of the reasons I'd been selling those assets and reinvesting in other things.

And so we've launched Powerful Homes now and I really want to help as best I can and would be thrilled to help you with your journey along the way and empower any dreams that you have. So hopefully that was of some value to you. Looking back on decisions I made to buy, decisions I made to sell, decisions I made to get into different asset classes based on my every evolving priorities. And it's just been a fantastic thing. Real estate has been one the constants in a life that you constantly have your feet trembling under you at times, you know, during the teenage years and during the crazy times, you know, the pandemic and the great recession, the one constant throughout that has been real estate.

And, you know, in my forties, we moved, then one last thing I'll say is that we moved, we sold that house. That was great for when the little kids were little. We sold the house, bought a house, that I'm currently in now just because it was a different school setting, the different offerings for us as a family. So this house has again afforded me some appreciation and equity that I can use to help pay for my kids' college and pay for the new priorities we have with our lives.

So glad you're with us and I'm so proud to be doing this podcast. And like I said, in the last one, if you have any questions, you can go on our website, which is There's a question form. There's even a form we can interact with our team. And then I also have 303-885-1644. If you wanted to text me, if you wanted to chat for a few minutes. We, again, we're so excited to just put this information out there. Hopefully it's of value to you. It puts it in context, wherever you are in your journey, whatever's going on for you. We believe that buying a home, investing in real estate, could really be a thing that stabilizes things and creates fantastic opportunities for you to empower your dreams. See you next time, thanks for being here.

Thanks for being here.


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